From the beginning of this project, we were aware of the importance of the Ulster Canal as a wildlife corridor, and of its uniqueness in its banks having been uncultivated for over 100 years, thus providing a very special seed ‘bank’. So, we enlisted some good people we knew were also interested in the ecology of the Ulster Canal, and asked them to advise us on how best to conserve the canal’s habitats during construction of the Greenway. We also asked them to advise how we might best use the Greenway as an awareness-raising and educational tool to promote the importance of biodiversity to the general public.
The group oversaw the work, and put together a Development & Management Plan for the new Greenway.
The team were:
Nial O Connor – Environmental Awareness Officer, Monaghan County Council
Joe Shannon – Birdwatch Ireland
Emer Brennan & Cheryl Connolly – Monaghan Tidy Towns
Carmel Brennan – ‘Action for Biodiversity’ cross border local authority initiative
Bernie O Flaherty – Water quality expert, Monaghan County Council
Denis Flannery – Horticulturalist, Monaghan Town Council
Carol Lambe – Development Officer, Monaghan County Council
Monaghan Tidy Towns is taking the lead role in rolling out biodiversity measures along the Greenway, in its quest to make Monaghan a Biodiversity Town. Work started back in 2010, when Monaghan County Council provided tidy towns groups with training in how to conduct a Habitat Survey. Ever since, Monaghan Tidy Towns has adapted its work to promote the biodiversity agenda. Everything from the type of flower and tree planted, to the way grassy areas are managed, is done in a way that maximises the value of the habitat to wildlife.
This is carried on along the Greenway, which passes through many habitat types, including woodlands, wetlands, fast-flowing water, cultivated grasslands and hedgerows. In 2013, Monaghan Tidy Towns received funding under the Local Agenda 21 Environmental Partnership Fund to commission and erect a series of information boards along the Greenway. The information is designed to give you tips for simple things you might do at home to help promote biodiversity. Each board carries a QR code, which when scanned with a smartphone, connects you through to the Tidy Towns site, monaghantownbiodiversity.com